(CNN) – Rep. Charles Rangel said Thursday he does not plan to attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.
The House Ethics Committee on Thursday accused veteran Rep. Charles Rangel of 13 violations of House rules involving alleged financial wrongdoing and harming the credibility of Congress.
"Credibility is what's at stake here; the very credibility of the House itself before the American people," said Rep. Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that will hold a trial-like hearing on the charges against Rangel.
McCaul spoke at the subcommittee's first meeting, which heard the charges against Rangel, a 20-term Democrat from New York running for re-election this year. Rangel was not required to attend and did not show up.
According to committee documents, Rangel earlier filed a motion to dismiss the allegations against him that was denied.
Rangel said this week that his lawyers were in talks with committee lawyers on a possible deal to avoid the public hearing on his alleged violations. When Thursday's hearing was delayed for 55 minutes with no explanation, rumors of an imminent agreement quickly spread.
However, the panel gathered and held the hearing, which included the first public announcement of the specific committee charges against Rangel.
According to the charges, Rangel allegedly failed to report more than $600,000 on financial disclosure reports and improperly solicited funds for a project he supported at the City College of New York.
The committee also alleged that Rangel improperly used a rent-subsidized apartment as a campaign office and failed to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.
McCaul said the allegations, if proven, would violate "the most fundamental code of conduct" for House members.
Rep. Gene Green of Texas, a Democrat who led a two-year ethics subcommittee investigation of Rangel, said it was a difficult job.
"The task is even more difficult when the subject has befriended and mentored so many new members, and I'm one of them," Green said.
Another ethics committee member, Republican Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, said "this is truly a sad day where no one, regardless of their partisan stripes, should rejoice."
Rangel temporarily stepped down as Ways and Means Committee chairman earlier this year following the announcement of an ethics investigation of several allegations, including failure to pay taxes on the Dominican Republic residence.
The congressman has also admitted a failure to report several hundred thousand dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms. In addition, he is under scrutiny for the purported misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes, as well as for allegedly preserving tax benefits for an oil-drilling company in exchange for donations to a project he supported at the City College of New York.
The House ethics committee previously admonished Rangel for violating rules on receiving gifts. Specifically, the committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting reimbursement payments for travel to conferences in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
Rangel, whose autobiography that discusses his Korean War experience is titled "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," told reporters earlier Thursday that "I have to reassess that (statement)" in light of the pending hearing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday - in response to a question about Rangel - that there must be "accountability" and "transparency" in cases of ethical transgressions.
"Holding a high ethical standard is a serious responsibility ... and a top priority" for the House Democratic leadership, she said. In terms of political fallout from cases such as Rangel's, "the chips will fall where they may," she said.
Congressional Democrats have reportedly expressed concern that an extended public airing of the charges against Rangel could damage the party's prospects in the November midterm elections.
– CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Brianna Keilar, Evan Glass, Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.